Reasons Aren’t Excuses

A trolly comment that crops up pretty much any time the difficulty of losing weight, or impediments to eating healthy, or fat acceptance as a whole is discussed–“But you’re just making excuses!” To which my most coherent response is usually “Thbbbbbbbbbbbbpt!” (that is, a big old raspberry)

Sure, I could explain and give evidence and cite studies and provide counter-examples, but they’re never going to be good enough. If someone is sincerely curious about my individual situation and how I ended up the weight I am without stuffing my face with donuts at every conceivable opportunity, maybe I’ll share. But not only are trolls not worth my–or anybody’s–time, I think trying to explain is conceding and doing ourselves a disservice.

To me, an “excuse” is an explanation for not doing something you’re obligated and expected to do. The note from home explaining that you were too busy puking your guts out to come to school, that’s an excuse. Because you’re supposed to show up.

I don’t need an excuse for not dieting. I looked at my available options and made the decision, as a grown-up, that dieting was a bad choice for me.

I don’t need an excuse if I don’t exercise on a given day, or if I eat a cookie, because I’m not obligated to meet someone else’s unreasonable standard. I’m not even obligated to defend my view of the standard as unreasonable.

I don’t have excuses for being fat, I just am. The days I exercise, I don’t need an excuse for not running instead of walking, or not going three miles instead of one, or not getting up to a higher speed on the bike. The days I decide I don’t feel like it, I also don’t need an excuse. As the person who lives in my body, I’m the one who gets to decide how to meet its needs.

Every day, people make decisions. They weigh the pros and cons and they do what works for them at the time. Other people are entitled to their opinions on those decisions, but they’re not entitled to expect anyone to actually *care* about those opinions. You’re entitled to your opinion; I’m entitled to ignore it. Just as you’re entitled to ignore my opinion about your life and your decisions.

When you try to defend your life and your choices, you’re ceding the other person authority that they don’t really have. You’re implicitly saying that they do get to tell you what to do. There might be times when explaining your reasons is useful, but I think it’s important not to let jerks and fat-haters set the tone by trying to prove that our reasons and choices are valid when we’re accused us of “making excuses.” The answer to that accusation is, “I don’t answer to you.” It should probably be phrased more politely than that to family members and friends than to random buttheads who troll FA blogs, but the point is the same: This is my life, not yours, and I have to choose how to live it.

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13 thoughts on “Reasons Aren’t Excuses

  1. Ashley says:

    I completely agree. You don’t need excuses and you don’t need to be accused of making excuses. You are the way you are and you owe no explanation to anyone.

  2. April D says:

    “I don’t need an excuse for not dieting. I looked at my available options and made the decision, as a grown-up, that dieting was a bad choice for me. ” I need this on a t-shirt; bumper sticker and a poster that can be shared around the world. It is spot-on and I love it!!

  3. Cate says:

    When confronted with irrationality, don’t ever JADE: Justify, Argue, Defend, Explain.

  4. Olivia says:

    This is awesome.

  5. Bladepsyde says:

    I would go one step further; “You’re entitled to have your opinion, I’m entitled not to care about it, you’re entitled to feel offense in response to me not caring about it, and I’m entitled to not care about that either.” 😉
    Because people *will* get offended when you make it clear you’re not interested in their thoughts on your choices, and it’s important – having taken the important social step of declaring emotional autonomy in the situation – not to then get sucked into guilt for having ’caused’ that offense.
    I think one of the worst statements in the English language is, “Sorry, but I don’t care,” because it devalues the apology – it’s clearly not sincere – and it *also* devalues the statement of indifference, as the flippant apology preceding it indicates a certain discomfort, on some level, with the potential conflict that could be caused by expressing that disinterest, and a half-hearted attempt to absolve oneself of the guilt one would otherwise expect to feel for having made that radical statement. It’s pretty much the definition of passive aggression; “I have this thought/feeling I expect will bother you; I don’t care about it bothering you enough to not express it, but just enough to try to justify the act of expression to myself with an insincere nicety that is equally transparent and meaningless to both of us.”
    “I’m sorry, but I don’t care,” is, in fact, a completely inaccurate statement; you’re either sorry, or you don’t care, but the two contradict each other.

  6. Michele says:

    I noticed a (IMO, “thin”) co-worker had what looked like a pedometer on her arm. Turned out to be a bodybugg and she explained that it kept track of all the calories she burned during the day so that at the end of the day, when she compared calories in (which she keeps track of) to calories out, she can decide whether or not to eat dinner. I was so sad for her. If that is what it takes to be “thin” I really want no part of that.

  7. Finisterre says:

    This is not only brilliantly put, it applies in so many other areas/situations as well. I get defensive very easily precisely because deep down I DO feel I ave to explain myself. But BOLLOCKS TO THAT! And thank you! 😀

  8. wolfshowl says:

    Well put and applies to so freaking much beyond FA even.

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